Big Data – Taming the Wild Beast

By now, you may have heard the term “brontobyte.”  This may sound like the action of a prehistoric creature, when in fact a recent article, cites a brontobyte as a data measurement classification of 10 to the 27th power of bytes! To make things a little bit clearer, 1,000 yottabytes make up one brontobyte in storage units.  And what is a yottabyte? It is 1,000 zettabytes – which is 1,000 exabytes!

Recently, IDC and the LTO Program published a  white paper, Using Tape to Optimize Data Protection Costs and Mitigate the Risk of Ransomware for Data-Centric Organization. With organizations around the globe creating higher volumes of data than ever before, IDC predicts the global datasphere will exceed 160ZB by 2025, with a 30 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). With big data growing at such a rapid pace, the additional requirement for IT storage and infrastructure to be organized and maintained in order to be able to cope with such large data sets can cause massive headaches for storage managers.

In this BlogBytes, we will take a deeper look into the big data phenomenon and how LTO technology is positioned to help tame this wild beast.

What is big data?

Big data is most commonly associated with large volumes of data that consume 1 terabyte or more. It can also be pertained to the frequency of data and the variety. As an example of frequency, according to, every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are sent on Twitter, which equates to over 500 million tweets per day. As noted in a Quora article, “variety means unstructured text, video, audio that can have important impacts on company decisions – if it’s analyzed properly in time.”

The Data Age 2025 white paper acknowledges that, “From power grids and water systems to hospitals, public transportation, and road networks, the growth of real-time data is remarkable for its volume and criticality. Where once data primarily drove successful business operations, today it is a vital element in the smooth operation of all aspects of daily life for consumers, governments, and businesses alike.” Managing big data is key to an organization’s survival. Decisions need to be made on what data to store, where to store it, how long to keep it, how to access, analyze and monetize it, and, more importantly, how to protect it.

Tame it – Store it – Protect it!

The protection of critical decision-making information is vital. As noted by Jon Toigo in a Search Data Backup article, “technology does exist to make reliable copies of data and get them to distant off-site storage in an affordable way. I’m talking about tape, of course: Linear Tape-Open standard tape.” Offsite and offline preservation of data is important to help avoid data destruction from natural disasters and attacks from hackers and ransomware. Toigo continues, “[LTO technology] is compatible across virtually all libraries, regardless of manufacturer, and growing in terms of speeds and feeds, durability, longevity and capacity.” 

LTO-8 technology can store up to 30TB of compressed data per cartridge, helping to tame the big data dilemma. That’s huge! As shown in the LTO technology roadmap, plans are in place to store up to 480TB per cartridge by LTO generation 12. In addition to being able to address the sheer volume of data, reliably preserving critical objects and files, as well as gaining access to it, is important.

The Linear Tape File System (LTFS) works in conjunction with LTO tape technology for ease-of-use and portability for open systems tape storage. LTFS makes viewing and accessing tape files easier than ever before.  A number of software offerings that support LTO technology and LTFS with unique backup, workflow and archive based features are available from LTFS Implementers.

Big data can at times feel like an untamed beast, but acknowledging that the data increase is only going to continue in the years to come, managing it efficiently and cost-effectively is essential to the success of any organization. Take some proactive steps in your storage strategy today to tame it, store it and protect it long term with LTO technology!